The Zambia National Educational Coalition (ZANEC) is saddened and shocked by the decision made by Copperbelt University (CBU) Management to slap a K1, 500 penalty fee on students for damage caused to property during the last riot. The surcharge in simple arithmetics shows that the university will collect almost K20, 000,000 if all students pay.
As a Coalition, we believe that the institution is using this as a resource mobilization strategy to subsidize the cost of securing the premises which the former Minister of Higher Education Hon Nkandu Luo had proposed. This should not be allowed. ZANEC calls for an independent and transparent assessment of the actual cost of the damage at the university. The parents and the guardians of the learners need to know the true costs to be met. It is unfair that parents must meet such high costs in this harsh economy.
ZANEC acknowledges and agrees with the statement made by the Minister of Higher Education Hon. Brian Mushimba that the surcharge is too high. We call upon the Minister to quickly open up dialogue with the management at the university and students union leaders in order to agree on an acceptable surcharge. We hope that this engagement with the Minister will take place as soon as possible so that this matter is addressed.